As one grows older the skin structure changes making the elderly more susceptible to certain skin problems. There are many factors that can also determine the changes our skin may undergo as we age. These factors are heredity, diets, lifestyles and personal habits (ex. smoking and tanning).
Stasis Dermatitis is when the lower legs become inflamed due to insufficiency of chronic venous. The symptoms of stasis dermatitis include itching, hyperpimentation, itching and possible ulcerations. Treating stasis dermatitis includes keeping the legs elevated, medication and keeping the legs wrapped in elastic bandages that are loose enough that they do not cause circulatory problems.
Exfoliative Dermatitis is a scaly covering that affects most of the skin. Exfoliative dermatitis symptoms include peeling skin, flaking skin, scaly skin, redness, fever, swollen skin and crusted skin. Exfoliative dermatitis is treated with topical corticosteroids, oral corticosteroids and if severe enough may require hospitalization and intravenous fluids.
Sun damages the skin greatly due to ultraviolet (UV) lights. The person who has tanned most of their life will come to find out as they get older the effects of tanning. UV lights eventually break down the elastin in the skin which will cause the skin to stretch, wrinkle, sag and become blotchy. Sun exposure also cause what are known as “age spots” these age spots are brown patches of skin that usually seen in areas that are exposed to the sun. To prevent skin damage one should always wear an SPF of at least 15 while being exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.
Dry and itching skin is common in the elderly due to the loss of oil glands. Oil glands help keep the skin soft. The elderly can help this skin problem by keeping the skin moisturized by applying light lotions daily to the skin that are dye and perfume free to prevent further irritation to the skin. A hydrator will also help keep the skin hydrated.
Pressure sores are very common skin problems that strike the elderly that are bed ridden or sit for prolonged periods of time. To prevent pressure sores, also known as bedsore the elderly should be repositioned and rotated frequently to avoid pressure to certain areas for long periods.
Skin cancer is very common once a person hits 65and over. Due to the skins break down and sun exposure over time. The two common types of skin cancer are squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas. Once can lessen their chances of skin cancer by making sure their skin is covered when outdoors, applying sunscreen of at least SPF 15, wearing hats with a brim that shade the face and by wearing sunglasses. To watch for skin cancer one must be observant to the changes in their skin. Look at any moles or discolorations of the skin and watch for changes to the area. Any changes should be looked at by a dermatologist.
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Skin Problems in the Elderly
Webmd: Skin Conditions: Elderly Skin Conditions